I often wonder if a Hard Day’s Night is simply a film for The Beatles fans. It’s a musical no doubt, but it also packs in enough comedy and attitude to hopefully attract the ardent music lover who may or may not be an outright Beatles follower.
A day in the life of The Beatles, as they travel to perform at a TV show, the film sees them running away from screaming girls, a lot, trying to get a little time to be who they are amidst all the chaos and craziness. While we have Paul, John, Ringo, and George trying to do what boys normally like to do, that is have some fun, the character of Paul’s grandfather played by Wilfred Bramble is the diamond in the so-called rough as he goes up creating one situation after another that leads to hilarity all in the name of some cheeky fun.
Obviously if you love Beatles’ songs, A Hard Day’s Night is bound to be hummable as the almost random musical interludes are ever-so-welcomed. Although, something that does stand out in the film, and also during the performances is that one needs to keep an eye on all the characters that are up to something or the another at all times, and the focus is not always on the person talking or singing. In a nutshell, it’s boys being boys, and the cheekiness that transforms into comedy is very British, partly slapstick, but equally heavy on the dialogue. A word of warning though, it would help you a lot in understanding the comedy if you brush up on your British slang before watching the film.
Another aspect about the story that stands out is that in-between all the running around, the light-heartedness, and an insight into the influence The Beatles had on the world, the film is also about the price one has to pay for fame as our beloved musicians try to find time for their own personal interests but are unable to because of the demands of the being wanted and at the top of their game, not to mention their popularity making it hard for them to even walk the streets.
The direction of Richard Lester is quite frantic with the Beatles always on the move, but thankfully even when the camera is shaky, it doesn’t seem to be out of place and viewing the film right from the beginning of the opening credits till the conclusion of the end credit roll is a pleasure. The film wears a number of hats with it being part documentary like, part music video like, and part comedy film; the influence it had on future films and filmmakers as a result of being almost iconic is quite evident.
A Hard Day’s Night has to be one of the highest points in British Cinema. The fact that it still holds solid ground after 50 years and is equally admired by the newer generation is proof enough of its genius.
The cherry on top of the cake is that A Hard Day’s Night gets a much needed digital restoration with its 50th Anniversary release including the benefit of three audio options and a barrage of exclusive bonus features, and that makes it all the more desirable for every cinephile to have in his/her collection.
Title: A Hard Day’s Night
Release: 21st July 2014
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Audio: Mono, Dolby Digital 2.0/5.1
Special Features include:
In their Own voices – 1964 interviews with The Beatles
You Can Do That – A documentary on the making of A Hard day’s Night
Things They Said Today – A documentary about the film
Picturewise and Anatomy of a Style – Both features that focus on the director